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Saran Indian Cuisine, Ravinder and Karan Hazrah's Vegetarian on Lee Highway in Arlington - Closed


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In the wasteland that is the shopping center at the corner of Lee Highway and George Mason, there is a small Indian restaurant that is owned by a very friendly couple. Their menu is huge for a vegetarian-only place, featuring several of my favorites (Dal Makhni, Cholle Puri, Masala Dosai, etc.) All portions are generous and there is not a dish on the menu that is over $10, which is great if you like trying a few things and not paying dearly for it like at Heritage or Rasika. With that said, this is obviously not at the quality of the high-end places in the area, but should not be ignored as a delivery option or if you are in the mood for a lunch buffet, which is available for $6.99 every day of the week except Monday, when I believe they are closed.

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I just finished, or rather, couldn't finish all of a delicious meal I picked up at Saran an hour ago. I dipped deep into their menu for some old favorites and they were spot on! I got the masala rawa dosai, which I think is rava dosa most other places. It is a pancake made from wheat and lentils, potatoes and onions, served with a rich vegetable stew, sambar. And since I like it hot, the chef threw in some of the small green chilis to give it just a touch of fire. It came with a coconut chutney that was pretty good, and a sweet almost honey like dip, as well. I also ordered Aloo Bonda, which is a golden dumpling with lentils, onions and potatoes. There was a fresh green dipping sauce as well, which was pretty good. The roti was hot, right out of the oven, and it was nearly as good as the best I've had at Ravi Kabob, which has been my favorite, but it has some competition now. Saran was doing a decent business, 4 tables occupied, and a steady stream of carryout customers.

The service was friendly, the dosa was prepared well, they hit my request for heat right out of the park, serving size was generous, the bonda was excellent & the achar was outstanding and it was all for $12.50. All in all, a restaurant I will be grabbing takeout from much more often!

Sorry about the file size on the picture, it is a bit oversized, but you really get a detailed view! :rolleyes:

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I got the masala rawa dosai, which I think is rava dosa most other places. It is a pancake made from wheat and lentils, potatoes and onions, served with a rich vegetable stew, sambar. And since I like it hot, the chef threw in some of the small green chilis to give it just a touch of fire. It came with a coconut chutney that was pretty good, and a sweet almost honey like dip, as well.

 
After a mid-afternoon Nat's Dog, I wanted vegetables last night, so I ordered a #54 Onion Rawa Dosai ($8.99) at Saran. I got neither the coconut chutney (merp) nor the honey (thank you, Lawd), but my sambar was equally zingy to ziv's. I also got a #29 Palak Paneer ($8.99) which included both Naan and the standard little tubs of tamarind and coriander chutneys; and an order of Basmati Rice ($1.49) and Raita ($2.99). Saran is a restaurant I want to like more than I did last night - the Palak Paneer was like bland mush (I actually almost salted it), and was very stingy on the cheese. The Raita was watery, but also full of sliced cucumber which might account for some of the thinness (it was also ladled from a large tub which could mean it had simply settled). The Dosai was better (not surprising, given the Southern bent to Saran), the crepe in particular being well-griddled although the filling tended toward the bitter end of the spectrum. Best of all was the Naan which was made to order when I arrived, and reminded me that Saran seems to take pride in its bread offerings.

Note also that Saran does a lot of catering, and apparently has a banquet hall available.

Cheers,
Rocks

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We have eaten here a few times in the last month or so and like what we have eaten so far. We ordered standard vegetarian fare each time - samosas, vegetable pakoras, chana masala, aloo gobi, saag aloo, chana dal, and naan. The dishes are consistently tasty, the portions are huge and they are well spiced - enough to be flavorful but not so much that it offends my very western palate. I always wish the dining room was more busy when i go pick up my order because everyone there is very nice. No doubt this place suffers from its location in a rundown strip mall. I will continue to patronize Saran as the food is good and it is quite close to home. I wish more people would.

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Saran was pleasantly busy tonight; we were also the only non-descendants of the most awesome of subcontinents there.

Had the Methi Paneer, which was a darker, smokier version of palak paneer which had a fair amount of fenugreek mixed in with the spinach, and the Sitafal Curry, which is a thinner version of the kadu from Bamian (if you've had it, you know exactly how good that is) with a couple more sticks of butter in it.

I still haven't had anything that wasn't fantastic here and the menu is around 80 items long. Hell, there are 19 different items in the bread section.

The website will lead you astray, as Saran hasn't been open the past two Monday nights I tried; a more social person would do the decent thing and call ahead.

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There were only eight people in Saran at 12:30, and that's a shame because their $9.99 lunch buffet is a really good deal.

Saran's cooking is mild to the point of being slightly bland, but also doesn't employ a lot of gratuitous oil - it's clean, very healthy, and most importantly for workers getting the lunch buffet: not sleep-inducing. You can eat a very hearty meal here and still not feel too full.

Need a car to get home? Try Saran Sedan Service! And now we know how the Hazrah's can afford to stay in business offering $9.99 lunch buffets (really now, how much money could they possibly be making from these, considering there are 3-4 employees in the restaurant?)

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Saran will never win any awards, but it's worth knowing about, with plenty of parking, and their buffet is offered until 3 PM.

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Thanks for bumping this thread,it got me to check out their menu. i really need to make it to this place sometime.

i'm excited to see they have saag with makkai roti--one of my favorite homestyle dishes i don't see on many restaurant menus. if you've never had it, you might want to. it's similar to palak paneer, but the mustard greens add a lot more flavor and there's no paneer.

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After much stomach grumbling last night, I decided that last night was the night that I was finally going to try this place. I am very glad I did, as the palak paneer really hit the spot. The nice thing is that an order is enough for two, so I have leftovers for work today.

I think this is a solid place that is good to be put on the "carryout rotation," although I can't say their naan is all that worth ordering.

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Add:

**Week of 10/18/15 - Rolls By U, 1731 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA (via Washington City Paper)

Website  No thread yet

**10/14/15 [date of article reporting opening] - Sharan Indian Cuisine, 5157 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA (via ArlNow)

No website found  No thread yet

ArlNow reports this is now Sharan Indian Cuisine (vegetarian) with new owners.

 
The new owners are apparently ThinkFoodGroup. :rolleyes:
 
At least they didn't make it into a bottle-service lounge and call it Saran Rap.
 
New Ownership + New Name = New Thread; if they had left that "h" out, this thread would continue. I live in a strange little world.
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